Oh the wonderful apprenticeship levy. Hard work? Confusing? Not fit for purpose?
We have read so much negativity surrounding the levy and the truth is most of this is ill informed, close minded and lazy journalism/opinion. What is so hard to grasp that if your wage bill is over £3 million you have to pay just 0.5% of that on apprenticeship training? If the word apprenticeship was taken out suddenly everything would be fine as ‘employers would be in the driving seat’, apparently…
The 20% Rule
Manufacturing Organisation EEF state in their report ‘A Levy Price to Pay’ that 2 in 5 organisations could not meet the 20% off the job requirement. Is it so bad that apprentices must be off the job to learn key skills to do a better job? If staff are not skilled enough, why would you expect them to get better without training? That is like expecting your child to become a professional footballer with no training. Madness. Let’s not forget the 20% rule does not specify in a classroom, off site. The 20% simply means not doing their day to day job, they can still undertake value adding activities.
Do we, don’t we?
EEF also state in their report that 1 in 5 Manufacturers struggled to work out if they paid the Levy – Citing multiple companies as the reason. I am almost certain these same organisations do not struggle to be tax efficient, so this is a lazy reason. Another issue was that they struggled to find a college or provider that delivered a standard that suited their needs. Well, continue to go to colleges who lack the flexibility to deliver tailored programmes and this is the outcome.
Let’s talk about the word apprenticeship and what the standards mean. The word apprenticeship has this stigma of a fresh from school teenager. Wrong. Apprentices can be any age, any education. We have been through this in a previous blog as seen here – http://whyychange.com/2018/03/21/why-is-there-a-negative-apprenticeship-stigma/ . The standards are there as a guide. Yes there are end point assessments which apprentices must pass, but the agreement between provider and employer is a commercial transaction. The training provided can be tailored, if the employer wishes it to be, so that ends the argument for more employer control.
All in all the Levy is a good thing, being mistreated, and neglected. It is up to employers to do their research, and do more to engage with providers to ensure the Levy works for them.